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AR Landscape App Helps Designs Come to Life
Aids in Collaboration Between Professionals and Clients

By Allie Lapporte, LC/DBM

AR Landscape App Helps Designs Come to Life

AR Landscape App Helps Designs Come to Life

iScape, an app created by longtime landscape contractor, Patrick Pozzuto, uses augmented reality technology to allow landscape professionals and homeowners alike the chance to see a design on a landscape before the installation process begins.

Patrick Pozzuto, the original founder of the landscape design app, iScape, shared with Landscape Online how the app came to be and how landscape professionals can use it.

While Pozzuto was working as a landscape contractor, focusing on high-end residential projects, he experienced a lot of one-on-one situations with homeowners. He came to realize that there was a major gap in the collaborative aspect of landscape design, and there was nothing on the market to help homeowners easily visualize the designs that they were paying for, even with smaller projects. He recalled one example of a client having a hard time deciding where to plant a sego palm. Pozzuto had to replant it several times in several different spots before she was satisfied. "I started thinking, there's got to be an app for this where she could just use a picture and figure out where to plant it instead of using my lower back," Pozzuto shared.

AR Landscape App Helps Designs Come to Life

Pozzuto came up with the idea for iScape by working with clients and trying to make the collaboration process, as well as landscape design jobs in general, easier.

That is how the idea for iScape was born. Pozzuto began researching the market for landscape design apps and the tech side of the business. "I was always very interested in technology and software and all that, but I was a landscaper." He shares that he just wanted to make design collaborations easier for people. Regardless of his inexperience, the app project developed and was made available in the App Store. "That's the beauty of Apple," Pozzuto said. "They really provided the tools and the resources for somebody who is just your average Joe to create something like this. There are so many success stories that come from people developing apps." While Pozzuto originally imagined that the app would be aimed mostly towards homeowners who wanted to design their own landscapes, he was pleasantly surprised to learn that landscape professionals were using the program. "Pros love the mobility and ease of use," he said.

There are two ways to use iScape. Users can design on a picture background, which, Pozzuto mentioned, is a good option for when professionals cannot be onsite. Homeowners can even send professionals a background picture to work with from the office or from another site. The other option is augmented reality (AR). With AR, users have to be onsite, and when designers place the plants and other features, they can walk around, looking through the phone, and see it from all angles. They can even see the shadows that would be cast by a large tree. iScape recently added what Pozzuto refers to as multi-tier features. Using augmented reality, different devices can enter a design session together. A professional can place plants into a design, and using their phones, clients can see the design from other areas of the landscape. Pozzuto explained, "If you were with your spouse, you could be looking at the landscape from the front porch, and your spouse could be by the road looking at it from a different angle."

AR Landscape App Helps Designs Come to Life

The app allows several people to join a session, each using a different device and viewing the AR designs from a different angle.

Clients can even contribute to the design in real time as well, moving plants (that the professional adds into the design) to get the perfect placement or adding other features. The designs can even be saved and shared from phone to phone. For instance, if a professional is working while the client is not home, the designer can go to the house, create a design using AR and save it, sending it to the client. When the client arrives at home, he or she can then access the saved design and still be able to walk through and see every detail from every angle.

In addition, the app keeps track of the measurements of everything used in the AR designs, translating the added landscape features into real life measurements, reducing the need for re-measuring once the designs are set. "The technology is so advanced now; everything is very close to accurate, within a few inches," Pozzuto said.

AR Landscape App Helps Designs Come to Life

In addition to seeing how the placement of landscape features might affect a space, the app can also show the shadows that would be cast by the features.

The app is currently available for download in the Apple App Store. The free app comes with the ability to take background pictures and use the AR feature, and design using up to ten plants, hardscape features or other features. Users can play with the app to see how it works. Once a user decides they want to use more plants or landscape features, they can subscribe for the pro-version of the app, which comes at a monthly or annual fee. If clients wanted to join an AR session with a landscape professional, as previously mentioned, they would not have to pay for a subscription. They could simply download the app.

iScape was recently featured with Apple CEO Tim Cook on an episode of the HBO series Axios. Cook spoke about augmented reality in apps and used iScape as an example, sharing Pozzuto's story. According to Pozzuto, Cook "has always been really supportive of real-life scenarios. Because that's what technology is all about, making people's lives easier." iScape is currently categorized under the New Apps We Love section of the App Store.

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, January 2019.

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December 13, 2019, 6:32 am PDT

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